Babcock, James R.

Born: 1804-08-16 Washington County, Rhode Island

Died: 1863-12-29 Pekin, Illinois

Flourished: 1836 to 1863 Tazewell County, Illinois

James R. Babcock, farmer and public official, was born in Westerly, Rhode Island and relocated to Tazewell County, Illinois, where between 1836 and 1853 he purchased over 600 acres of public land. Babcock served as county treasurer of Tazewell County from 1849 to 1860 and town clerk of Pekin from 1854 to 1858. In 1857 he was a commissioner of the Mississippi and Wabash Railroad. In politics, Babcock was described as an old line Whig at the time of his 1859 reelection to the office of county treasurer, and he reportedly refused a nomination by the anti-slavery wing of the Republican Party in Tazewell County at that election and chose instead to run as an independent. At the time of the 1860 census he owned real estate valued at $2,000 and possessed $500 in personal property. Late in that same year he was taken to the Illinois State Asylum and Hospital for the Insane in Jacksonville to recuperate after experiencing “several shocks of palsy” that had “affected his mind”. He married Amelia J. Barnum in 1829 and the pair had three children.

Stephen Babcock, comp., Babcock Genealogy (New York: Eaton & Mains, 1903), 228; History of Tazewell County Illinois (Chicago: Chas. C. Chapman, 1879), 426, 713, 714; Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales, Tazewell County, 69:141; 825:44, 46, 52; SWP:13, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Tazewell County, IL, 52; The Weekly Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL), 5 August 1857, 1:2; The Weekly Chicago Times (IL), 13 October 1859, 2:4-5; 27 October 1859, 2:4-5; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Tazewell County, IL, 96; Illinois Daily State Journal (Springfield), 31 December 1860, 2:2.